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Growing concerns over air transmission of Ebola


Staff member
First case of ebola reported in Africa's most populous city Lagos

Monica Mark in Lagos
The Guardian, Friday 25 July 2014 17.48 BST

A man has died of ebola in Lagos, the first confirmed case of the highly contagious and deadly virus in Africa's most populous metropolis.

Patrick Sawyer, a 40-year-old Liberian civil servant, collapsed on arrival in Nigeria's main airport on Sunday, health officials said. His condition rapidly deteriorated before he died, said Abdulsalami Nasidi, project director at the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, who attributed his death to ebola.

Officials at the World Health Organisation confirmed a sample from Nigeria was being tested for ebola, but did not confirm the results.

The death marks a new and alarming cross-border development in a disease that has spiralled into the world's biggest epidemic, spread across three west African countries. At least 660 people have died in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone since ebola was first diagnosed in February.

The pathogen is passed through contact with bodily fluids of infected patients, and has no known cure, although chances of survival improve dramatically with early detection and treatment.

But weak health systems and frequent cross-border travel have hampered efforts to contain the virus in a region which has never before experienced an outbreak.

Lagos state authorities said they had requested the flight's manifest to contact the other passengers, and began distributing protective clothing to health workers, state health advisor Yewande Adeshina said. Sawyer flew from Liberia's capital of Monrovia, with a brief flight stopover in nearby Togo. His sister is believed to have died of ebola in the last month, a Liberian official told the Guardian.

Rumours about the virus – which causes a painful fever that degenerates into internal and external bleeding – were met with scepticism from residents in the crowded business district where Sawyer was treated. "I cannot believe it is true," said trader Segun Kosoko, who said he had seen two traders donning face masks.

Experts have also been alarmed by the disease's wide geographical spread, from Guinea's remote interior forest region, where it originated, to densely populated coastal regions.

Ghana has had several unconfirmed scares, while Sierra Leone's capital Freetown recorded its first confirmed case this week. Authorities there were forced to launch a public appeal after the victim slipped out of hospital. Her family forcibly removed her – as many have done, either fearing they would catch the disease while in quarantine, or doubting its existence.

Radio stations in Freetown, a city of about 1 million people, broadcast the appeal to locate the woman, named as Saudatu Koroma. "She is a positive case and her being out there is a risk to all. We need the public to help us locate her," the appeal stated.

Koroma, 32, had been admitted to an isolation ward while blood samples were tested for the virus, said Sidi Yahya Tunis, a health ministry spokesman.

Meanwhile in Liberia this week, a man burned down a room in the ministry of health after his 14-year-old relative died of ebola. He said a lack of doctors and nurses – many of whom have been ostracised from their communities – had led to the boy's death.

Nigeria's ministry of health urged residents to follow guidelines to prevent the virus' spread, and launched a hotline number.

First case of ebola reported in Africa's most populous city Lagos | World news | The Guardian
Alex D. from TRIBE on Utility Room


TRIBE Member
It'll never spiral out of control. For that to happen, there would have to be a period where the infected could transmit the virus for a long period of time unknowingly without symptoms. A true crisis would be something like HIV with a invisible years-long incubation period that's spread through sneezing and touching door handles.


TRIBE Member
Well if they just ate a natural diet this ebola would never be spreading - too many gmos

Joking aside - Lagos scared the fuck out of me before I heard this ebola shit.


Staff member
With an incubation period of 2 to 21 days people could be spreading it and not even show symptoms. The fact that this guy in Lagos died after coming through the country's main airport is not comforting at all...
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TRIBE Member
there's reports that the U.S. doctor living in Liberia has now contracted Ebola, and is undergoing intensive treatment.
There's also reports that his family had visited him there, flying back home to Texas days before he began showing symptoms.
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TRIBE Member
According to EU media reports, the expected entry vector there is via Paris, due to the airport's use as a major EU-AF hub. I've also heard China as well, but I know little of their biological controls. In the meantime, I advise my clients to invest in canned food and shotguns.



Staff member
Ebola outbreak: Liberia shuts most border points

Most border crossings in Liberia have been closed and communities hit by an Ebola outbreak face quarantine to try to halt the spread of the virus.
Screening centres are also being set up at the few major entry points that will remain open, such as the main airport.

Meanwhile, Nigeria largest's airline, Arik Air, has suspended all flights to Liberia and Sierra Leone after a man with Ebola flew to Nigeria last week.
The virus has killed at least 660 people in West Africa since February.
The outbreak began in southern Guinea and spread to Liberia and Sierra Leone. It is the world's deadliest so far.

Nigeria has put all its entry points on red alert after confirming that a Liberian man died of Ebola after arriving at Lagos airport on Tuesday.

Ebola kills up to 90% of those infected, but patients have a better chance of survival if they receive early treatment. It spreads through contact with an infected person's bodily fluids.

Arik Air said it took the decision to halt flights as a precautionary measure and called for all inbound flights to Nigeria from Ebola-affected countries to be suspended.

"We feel especially compelled to take the business decision to immediately suspend flight services into the two Ebola affected countries due to our interest in the well-being of Nigerians," the airline, which operates routes across West Africa, said in a statement.

In a statement on Sunday night, Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf said the special Ebola task force she was heading would ensure that "communities that are seriously affected will be quarantined and travels in and out of such communities restricted".

The BBC's Jonathan Paye-Layleh in the capital, Monrovia, says her new orders include strict observation at the international airport of all outgoing and incoming passengers, who are now liable for inspection and testing.
All government facilities and public places are to install public access for washing of hands and all hotels, restaurants, and film centres are to play five-minute information clips on Ebola awareness and prevention.
Over the weekend prominent Liberian doctor Samuel Brisbane died after a three-week battle with the virus.

Two US aid workers are also being treated for Ebola in Liberia, including Dr Kent Brantly, who was the medical director at one of the country's two treatment centres run by the group the Samaritan's Purse.

The other American, Nancy Writebol, works for the Serving in Mission (SIM) as part of the same team.

"It's been a shock to everyone on our team to have two of our players get pounded with the disease," Ken Isaacs, from the Samaritan's Purse in the US, told the Associated Press news agency.

President Johnson Sirleaf urged people to co-operate with health workers and Ebola awareness campaigners.

Last month she warned that anyone caught hiding suspected Ebola patients would be prosecuted.

Experts say the disease creates fear within communities and sick people are often stigmatised.

Liberian Senator Peter Coleman, a doctor and former health minister, told the BBC authorities needed to approach religious leaders to spread the message about Ebola as "people don't seem to believe anything the government now says".

from BBC
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Staff member
Growing concerns over 'in the air' transmission of Ebola

By Matt McGrath
Science reporter, BBC World Service
Ebola virus

Canadian scientists have shown that the deadliest form of the ebola virus could be transmitted by air between species.

In experiments, they demonstrated that the virus was transmitted from pigs to monkeys without any direct contact between them.

The researchers say they believe that limited airborne transmission might be contributing to the spread of the disease in some parts of Africa.

They are concerned that pigs might be a natural host for the lethal infection.

"What we suspect is happening is large droplets - they can stay in the air, but not long, they don't go far. But they can be absorbed in the airway"
Dr Gary Kobinger
Public Health Agency of Canada​

Ebola viruses cause fatal haemorrhagic fevers in humans and many other species of non human primates.

Details of the research were published in the journal Scientific Reports.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the infection gets into humans through close contact with the blood, secretions, organs and other bodily fluids from a number of species including chimpanzees, gorillas and forest antelope.

The fruit bat has long been considered the natural reservoir of the infection. But a growing body of experimental evidence suggests that pigs, both wild and domestic, could be a hidden source of Ebola Zaire - the most deadly form of the virus.

Now, researchers from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency and the country's Public Health Agency have shown that pigs infected with this form of Ebola can pass the disease on to macaques without any direct contact between the species.

In their experiments, the pigs carrying the virus were housed in pens with the monkeys in close proximity but separated by a wire barrier. After eight days, some of the macaques were showing clinical signs typical of ebola and were euthanised.

One possibility is that the monkeys became infected by inhaling large aerosol droplets produced from the respiratory tracts of the pigs.

One of the scientists involved is Dr Gary Kobinger from the National Microbiology Laboratory at the Public Health Agency of Canada. He told BBC News this was the most likely route of the infection.

"What we suspect is happening is large droplets - they can stay in the air, but not long, they don't go far," he explained.

"But they can be absorbed in the airway and this is how the infection starts, and this is what we think, because we saw a lot of evidence in the lungs of the non-human primates that the virus got in that way."

The scientists say that their findings could explain why some pig farmers in the Philippines had antibodies in their system for the presence of a different version of the infection called Ebola Reston. The farmers had not been involved in slaughtering the pigs and had no known contact with contaminated tissues.

Dr Kobinger stresses that the transmission in the air is not similar to influenza or other infections. He points to the experience of most human outbreaks in Africa.

"The reality is that they are contained and they remain local, if it was really an airborne virus like influenza is it would spread all over the place, and that's not happening."

The authors believe that more work needs to be done to clarify the role of wild and domestic pigs in spreading the virus. There have been anecdotal accounts of pigs dying at the start of human outbreaks. Dr Kobinger believes that if pigs do play a part, it could help contain the virus.

"If they do play a role in human outbreaks it would be a very easy point to intervene" he said. "It would be easier to vaccinate pigs against Ebola than humans."

"It's an impressive study that not only raises questions about the reservoir of Ebola in the wild, but more importantly elevates concerns about ebola as a public health threat," he told BBC News. "The thought of airborne transmission is pretty frightening."

At present, an outbreak of ebola in Uganda has killed at least two people near the capital Kampala. Last month, Uganda declared itself Ebola-free after an earlier outbreak of the disease killed at least sixteen people in the west of the country.

BBC News - Growing concerns over 'in the air' transmission of Ebola


Staff member
There are some reports coming in now of the first Ebola case appearing in New York city.


Staff member
Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York City Tests Patient for Ebola

Updated Aug. 4, 2014 6:53 p.m. ET

A man who recently returned from West Africa with symptoms consistent with the Ebola virus is being tested for the disease in New York City, where he was admitted to a hospital early on Monday morning, officials said.

A blood sample was sent Monday to the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta, where it will take 24 to 48 hours to determine if he has the disease, officials said.

The man presented at Mt. Sinai Hospital in Manhattan with a high fever and gastrointestinal problems, officials said. Authorities wouldn't identify the man or the country he had been to and the reasons for his visit. He is currently undergoing tests to determine the cause of his symptoms.

"All necessary steps are being taken to ensure the safety of all patients, visitors and staff," said Mt. Sinai Hospital spokeswoman Johanna Younghans in a news release.

It took seven minutes from the time the patient entered Mt. Sinai Hospital for him to be placed in strict isolation, officials said. He is being kept away from other patients, and staff members are taking extra precautions to prevent contact with bodily fluids, officials said.

Ebola is spread through close contact with bodily fluids, not casual contacts, officials said.

More than 700 people have been killed by Ebola in the West African countries of Nigeria, Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone in recent weeks, according to the World Health Organization. Symptoms include fever, fatigue and diarrhea.

Last week, a different male patient came back from West Africa with Ebola-like symptoms, according to Ian Michaels, a spokesman for the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation. He arrived at Kennedy International Airport last Wednesday and had the sudden onset of symptoms, which included a high fever and headache.

He was admitted to Bellevue Hospital Center, where he was immediately placed in isolation and tested for the virus. Doctors were able to rule out Ebola before the test results came back, because the patient experienced a quick recovery, inconsistent with the virus, according to Mr. Michaels.

There are 11 hospitals in the New York City hospital network and this has been the only other patient admitted with Ebola-like symptoms.

Mt. Sinai Hospital began planning for potential Ebola cases over the weekend. The hospital is coordinating with federal, state and city health officials to monitor the current case, the statement said.

Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York City Tests Patient for Ebola - WSJ


TRIBE Member
Phew! New York hospital patient tests negative for Ebola virus | Society | theguardian.com

A man who recently visited west Africa and then was hospitalized in New York City with a high fever and gastrointestinal symptoms does not have the Ebola virus.

Mount Sinai Hospital said Wednesday the man tested negative for the deadly disease, which has erupted in West Africa.

The man was ill when he arrived at Mount Sinai Hospital early Monday.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says three Americans in the United States have been tested for Ebola since the outbreak was first reported and those results were negative.

Officials at US airports are watching travelers from Africa for flu-like symptoms that could be linked to Ebola.

The Ebola virus causes a hemorrhagic fever that has killed more than 900 people since the outbreak erupted.
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TRIBE Member
There are reports of a possible case in Saudi Arabia now. Geographically, that be a big (and scary) jump.


Staff member
WHO declares ebola an international public health emergency

Maria Cheng, The Associated Press

Published Friday, August 8, 2014 5:39AM EDT

LONDON -- The World Health Organization on Friday declared the Ebola outbreak in West Africa to be an international public health emergency that requires an extraordinary response to stop its spread.

The WHO announced the Ebola outbreak - the largest and longest in history - is worrying enough to merit being declared an international health emergency. WHO declared similar emergencies for the swine flu pandemic in 2009 and for polio in May.

The WHO chief, Dr. Margaret Chan, said the announcement is "a clear call for international solidarity" but acknowledged that many countries would probably not have any Ebola cases.

"Countries affected to date simply do not have the capacity to manage an outbreak of this size and complexity on their own," Chan said at a news conference in Geneva. "I urge the international community to provide this support on the most urgent basis possible."

The agency had convened an expert committee this week to assess the severity of the ongoing epidemic.

The current outbreak of Ebola began in Guinea in March and has since spread to Sierra Leone and Liberia. There is no licensed treatment or vaccine for Ebola and the death rate has been about 50 per cent.

The impact of the WHO declaration is unclear; the declaration about polio doesn't yet seem to have slowed the spread of virus. During a WHO meeting last week to reconsider the status of polio, experts noted countries hadn't yet fully applied the recommendations made in May, there have been more instances of international spread and that outbreaks have worsened in Pakistan and Cameroon.

In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have already elevated their Ebola response to the highest level and has recommended against travelling to West Africa. On Thursday, CDC director Dr. Tom Frieden told a Congressional hearing that the current outbreak is set to sicken more people than all previous outbreaks of the disease combined.
"I don't know what the advantage is of declaring an international emergency," said Dr. David Heymann, who directed WHO's response to the SARS outbreak and is now a professor at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

"This could bring in more foreign aid but we don't know that yet," he said.

Read more: WHO declares spread of Ebola in West Africa an international health emergency | CP24.com

Sal De Ban

TRIBE Member
For those who are panicking, there are over 5 million people in Lagos. It's a huge city, and very densely populated. 99.9999999999999% of them are just fine.
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TRIBE Member
WHO has also saved millions of lives in the third world through vaccination campaigns and developing disease response protocols.

Very critical in this day and age to have a coordinator - single nations can't battle diseases that don't respect the borders of the nation state.

Praise be to the WHO.


Staff member
WHO has also saved millions of lives in the third world through vaccination campaigns and developing disease response protocols.

Very critical in this day and age to have a coordinator - single nations can't battle diseases that don't respect the borders of the nation state.

Praise be to the WHO.

My old man was a senior WHO dude at the African Regional Office for many years and also during the first outbreak of Ebola in Zaire and was later stationed in Kenya when the East African region suffered from Marburg and Ebola outbreaks. While WHO and the UN in general has an enormous amount of bloat and bureaucracy, the WHO actually does accomplish things from time to time. The elimination of smallpox, for example, is a stellar achievement for mankind.

Individual WHO people in the field do a lot you don't hear about and that's probably a good thing because if you knew half of the close calls humanity has had with filo viruses and hemorrhagic fevers, and air travel, you wouldn't sleep too easy at night.


TRIBE Member
Someone in Brampton has been quarantined and suspected to have Ebola after traveling to Nigeria. Why are people still traveling to West Africa after knowing about this?!
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